Zara Patel, MD

Head and neck surgeon, Otolaryngologist, Rhinologist, Smelling Disorders Specialist

Professor of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery (OHNS)

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Dr. Zara M. Patel is Director of Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery and a Professor of Otolaryngology and, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery at Stanford. She was born and raised in St. Louis, completed her MD at the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Oregon and completed her residency training in otolaryngology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, NY. After pursuing fellowship training in rhinology and endoscopic skull base surgery at Stanford University, she was recruited to join the Emory University faculty in Atlanta in 2011. After four years, the rhinology division recruited her back to the West coast to rejoin the department here at Stanford University in 2015.

Dr. Patel is an expert in advanced endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery. She treats patients with a wide variety of rhinologic complaints, including chronic sinus infection or inflammation, sinus disease that has failed medical therapy, sinus disease that has failed prior surgical therapy, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, benign and and malignant sinus and skull base tumors, as well as olfactory disorders.

She has served as Chair of the Education Committee and Member of the Board of Directors for the American Rhinologic Society, is current Chair of the Rhinology and Allergy Education Committee for the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, and has developed a multitude of educational materials for both physicians and patients to help them better understand rhinologic disorders. She is passionate about educating patients to allow them to make the best decisions about their own care, leading to better outcomes.

Dr. Patel has published widely in topics such as avoiding complications in endoscopic sinus surgery, chronic rhinosinusitis in the immunosuppressed patient population, new devices and techniques for endoscopic skull base surgery, and olfactory dysfunction. She continues to perform research in these areas, and is currently collaborating with neuroscientists and engineers to develop technology that she hopes will eventually help cure patients with smell loss, and potentially even help those with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Professional Summary

Education & Certifications
  • Residency: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (2010) NY
  • Internship: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (2006) NY
  • Board Certification: American Board of Otolaryngology, Otolaryngology (2011)
  • Fellowship: Stanford School of Medicine (2011) CA
  • Medical Education: Oregon Health Science University (2005) OR

Honors & Awards
  • Bright Flight Scholarship, University of Missouri (1997-2001)
  • Campbell Scholarhsip, Oregon Health and Sciences University (2004)
  • Fellow, American Rhinologic Society (2016)
  • First Place, New York City Otolaryngology Resident Research Day (2008)
  • Hughes Academic Achievement Award, State of Missouri (2000)
  • Inductee, National Honor Society, Phi Bet Kappa (2000)
  • Inductee, National Honor Society, Phi Eta SIgma (1998)
  • Inductee, National Medical Honors Society, Alpha Omega Alpha (2004)
  • Leadership Grant, American Academy of Otolaryngology (2007, 2008)
  • Miller Memorial Fund Scholarship, University of Missouri (2001-2003)
  • Mount Sinai Resident Teaching Award, Mount Sinai Medical School (2010)
  • National Merit Finalist, National Merit Scholarship Corporation (1997)
  • OHSU Rose Award, Oregon Health and Sciences University (2003)
  • Presidential Citation for Service, American Rhinologic Society (2018, 2021, 2022)
  • Woodruff Teaching Award, Emory University (2014)

  • Chair, Rhinology and Allergy Education Committee, American Academy of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery (2021 - Present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, American Rhinologic Society (2018 - 2021)
  • Member, Scientific Program Committee, American Academy of Otolaryngology (2016 - 2021)
  • Chair, Education Committee, American Rhinologic Society (2014 - 2017)
  • Member, Adult Sinusitis Guideline Committee, American Academy of Otolaryngology (2014 - 2015)
  • Member, Rhinology and Allergy Education Committee, American Academy of Otolaryngology (2013 - 2021)
  • Member, Program Committee, American Rhinologic Society (2012 - 2016)
  • Member, Legislative Representatives Committee, Board of Governors, American Academy of Otolaryngology (2012 - 2016)

Administrative Appointments
  • Director Neurorhinology - Advanced Sinus and Skull Base Surgery Fellowship, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Stanford University (2015 - Present)
  • Director of Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (2017 - Present)


Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

Practice Locations

Skull Base Surgery at 801 Welch Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

801 Welch Road

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 723-5281

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Facial Pain Program at 801 Welch Road Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

801 Welch Road

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 723-5281

Make An Appointment More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Skull Base Program Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

2452 Watson Court, Suite 1700

Palo Alto , CA 94303

(650) 723-5281

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Smell and Taste Disorders Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

801 Welch Road

Palo Alto , CA 94304

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Sinus Center in Palo Alto Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

801 Welch Road

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 723-5281

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Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia Center of Excellence Stanford, CA
Stanford, CA

300 Pasteur Drive

Stanford , CA 94305

(650) 498-1764

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Patient Ratings

(184 Ratings)

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Explanations the care provider gave you about your problem or condition
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The Patients Ratings and comments are gathered from our Patient Satisfaction Survey and displayed in their entirety.

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Patient Reviews

(143 reviews)

Concerned I’m not going to get enough pain control for my sinus surgery’s follow up visit. It could be done in short stay, outpatient surgery.
She was very helpful
Dr Patel is thorough
I like everything about the provider (Stanford Health & the Doctors I have seen there). My only objection is how far I have to drive to get there. At 75 this is not a simple task....
The nurse and Md were lovely people. Very helpful.
Everyone from the receptionist at the enterance to the nurses conducting the tests were extrememly kind, patient, and even encouraging.
I would like to thank her for such an informative and helpful video visit.
Dr Patel did a very good job explaining how to continue with the treatment since it seems I was doing the rinse incorrectly.
Dr Patel and the entire staff were so detailed and professional. I was very happy with the time they took to discuss all my questions.
such a nice doctor and so smart!
An amazing physician with a thorough understanding of her subject matter and her presentation skills to her patient was phenomenal. I had numerous questions knowing that the outcome would probably not be what I would hoped it would have been, but after my consultation with her, perfectly understood why it may not come out the way I was hoping. Very thorough kind and considerate and her explanations. You’re quite lucky to have her on your faculty in my opinion
Everyone at the clinic provided such great care. I feel very blessed to have such a great team looking out for me.
clear explanations to all questions. excellent listening skills. impressive resident fellow
Dr Patel & assistant we’re very nice & polite and gave me the information I needed. I’m very happy with the job the Dr did and the assistants.
Dr Zara Patel was very kind and explained everything Ian’s listened to concerns
Dr. Patel did an amazing job with my surgery. I’m able to breathe through the nose again and my sense of smell is improving.
She’s excellent!
Excellent Dr.Patel did an excellent job. Thank you
She is wonderful
Dr. Patel is a kind and understanding doctor, with far reaching knowledge. She is on top of things, remembers the context of our previous visit, and explains things in depth so that a regular person can understand them (which to me shows the depth of her knowledge). She is a really nice person, concerned and caring towards the situation, and very easy to talk to. She is happy to answer my questions. She is a skilled and very knowledgeable physician, and I feel very lucky to have her as my ENT.
Excellent physician. Will recommend to others.
She is an excellent doctor; she listens to my concerns, she explains everything clearly and most importantly, she has saved my life!
She is extremely helpful and knowledgeable
Best care I've had anywhere.
Very helpful and telling me how to take care of my problem nice people great doctor
I was very impressed with Dr. Patel’s assessment of my first visit.
Very likely dr Zara is a professional and knowledgeable
She’s the best in all respects.
Dr. Zara Patel is very knowledgeable, very caring.
She’s excellent in every way.
Dr Patel was excellent, but follow up was deficient.
Dr Patel and her team are awesome.
Dr. Patel is extremely competent, friendly, knowledgeable, helpful that all the things you would hope for in a doctor.
Dr. Patel was very thorough.
Very courteous and professional
Dr. Patel has excellent bedside manner. She is also very gentle.
She was really good at explaining everything and was personable and professional
from the check in and the Dr. Visit everyone was friendly, helpful and professional. I appreciate Dr. Patel answering all my questions and taking time to explain my situation so I understand completely.
really liked the doctor and staff
She didn’t follow up. Didn’t respond to my email. Left the patient in an urgent situation without a resolution. I asked a few other specialists about her suggestion of stopping Eliquis for two weeks. All disagreed. All said four days is enough. She didn’t expedite the case. No biopsy. No MRI. The patient had a terrible weekend. So irresponsible.
Dr. Patel and her staff are EXCEPTIONAL!
Knowledgeable but not very sensitive to my situation.
Dr. Patel was professional and compassionate to my health concerns
I felt really listened to.
I was completely impressed with my visit. Dr Patel is without a doubt the best physician I have ever seen. Explained everything in a way It connected with me.
The doctor is very good, the waiting time was too long.
Wonderful healing center! Everyone was so positive and helpful!!!!
Can’t thank her enough god bless her
Dr. Zara Patel is an outstanding and exceptional doctor; very knowledgeable and friendly and helpful and caring.
Thank you Dr.Patel. You relived all of my worries about my health condition!
Everyone was great
I'm so grateful to Dr. Patel for having removed all of my nasal polys successfully. I had wished for a thorough sinus surgery to remove all of my nasal polyps for all these long years. Dr. Patel has made my wishes come true with her expert professional knowledge and skills. Since under Dr. Patel's care,, my left ear fluid has gone away. no more hearing loss for my left ear. I was able to smell a little better and to breathe better with Budesonide sinus rinse daily before my surgery. After my sinus surgery, I can breathe so well with good flow of air reaching my sinus cavities. I'm confidently that my years of suffering from my sinus polyps problems will soon be over after I'm healed from my surgery. I'm also hopeful that my sense of smell will be regained under Dr. Patel's professional care . Look forward to a new bright healthy life ahead for me. Very blessed and grateful for having been under Dr. Patel's expert professional care!
Dr. Zara Patel is caring, informative, listens, humble, and loves her job. I would recommend her to others easily.
Dr. Patel was very thorough and explained just what was wrong and what could be done to correct my illness. This was the first time in three other doctor visit, over the past two years, that I finally received an answer and treatment plan for my problems.
She was excellent! In every way she was caring and competent.
lack of knowledge or professional curiosity, poor listening skills.
Doctor and interns were great. Knowledgeable, professional & friendly.
Everyone on the team was incredibly kind, as always.
Comfortable setting with both Dr and her assistant; up to date with my medical history; throughly explained my condition; provided needed follow up advice and medication.
Exceptional, she worked fast and thoroughly
I will recommend Dr. Zara Patel with no hesitation.
Forward thinking and imaginative.
I seriously want my sons to see Dr Patel.
I appreciate that both Dr. Patel and Sarah (NP) explained/followed up about the budejonide and made me feel reassured.
Dr. Patel was incredibly patient kind and knowledgeable about my problem
My experience prior coming to Stanford was very poor. Since transitioning my care, it has been a breath of fresh air & has given me hope again.
Dr Patel is an amazing physician and very warm and caring person.
Dr. Patel is the best!
Excellent care.
My local ENT couldn't figure out what was wrong. Dr. Patel was able to figure it out and come up with a game plan! I'm very pleased.
very positive experience
Many thanks.
Dr. Patel has great bedside manner.
Dr. Zara Patel was simply amazing! She listened to me. She did not make me feel rushed. She empathized with me. And, she discussed treatment options to make sure that I was comfortable with the treatment plan. I was VERY pleased with my visit with her.
Dr. Patel is very good she explained everything really well, she is a great doctor.
II was told I could ask for more anesthetic, which I did twice. I'm certain that if I had a problem Dr. Patel would have listened to my concern.
Good experience with Dr. Patel - seems over worked!
Dr. Patel was wonderfully competent. First accurate diagnosis I have received in 2 years of seeing many bumbling ENT specialists. She was was a breath of fresh air. Explained and showed me images of my problem, was brisk but not rushed, and she has a sense of humor. I couldn't be happier with my choice of physician.
dr Patel seemed very rushed and didn't take time to explain things. seemed like she wanted to leave the moment she entered the room.
Very thoughtful and listened to me.
Dr Patel and staff are amazing
Dr. Patel knows her field and shares the knowledge in a way that I can understand.
My experience was very good from the personal nurses and do not say about the doctors they are the best that God has put in my life.
She's a lovely doctor/person but there's little she can do for me.
Answered my questions thoroughly and was even able to speak Spanish when explaining my condition to my family.
Very thorough.
The doctor is very knowledgeable and careful to pass on the relevant information about condition and medication.
All staff was extremely thorough & specific with information.
All that took care of me were great.
Patel was excellent.
I have already recommended her to several people. Dr. Patel is kind, listens to my concerns, and and explains everything well. I am very happy with her care and expertise.
Very comfortable with Dr. Patel
Dr. Patel is absolutely the BEST!
Excellent PROVIDER!!
Dr. Patel was very thorough, recognized my level of awareness and addressed me accordingly.
Dr. Patel is very kind and always made sure I had gotten all my questions answered. Thank you!
Dr. Patel came across as a brilliant doctor. After the visit, my wife and I are completely confident in her ability to take care of my medical needs.
Dr Patel and her NP(?) Dr Lee have always been amazing to me. When have questions they're more then willing to give detailed answers and explanations until I understand and am at ease.
Dr Zara Patel was very thorough with the explanation of my condition
Dr. Patel is an outstanding and exemplary ENT attending. I recommend a letter of commendation for outstanding achievement.
top notch... excellent
Dr. Patel is the first ENT to explain my condition and to outline the appropriate treatment. I am an RN, so this was astounding to me. This visit was very reassuring and it was because of her level of concern and knowledge.
Dr. Patel is a most knowledgeable and an excellent provider. Stanford Health is doing an excellent job of marketing it self by providing superior service by ALL employees.
First-rate doctor. did a very thorough exam and spent quite a bit of time with me. Will happily return to see her. I would have liked to have discussed the surgery option a bit more, but in all fairness, she had already spent a lot of time with me!n did a very thorough exam and spent quite a bit of time with me. Will happily return to see her. I would have liked to have discussed the surgery option a bit more, but in all fairness, she had already spent a lot of time with me!
I don't believe the issue of my bleeding and where it's coming from was addressed, Dr. Patel showed me the topical view inside my left nostrils still have discharge nearly every day.
Dr Patel is an outstanding medical provider
Dr. Patel was extremely professional caring and a great time for me.
After the nightmare experience I had with Peninsula ER, doctors on call and my previous ENT, Dr. Patel deserves an above and beyond a 5 ( very good rating). She deserves a 10+!
Exceptional care!!
Dr. Patel is an excellent doctor. She shows compassion and I have a lot of trust in her.
Dr. Patel was excellent.
Love Dr. Patel.
Excellent and very caring.
I would highly recommend Dr. Patel. She is very caring and compassionate. She explains everything completely.
All my injuries were answered in detailed.
Was very watchful of everything & gave much attention to all the symptoms I had had before the surgery & answered all the questions.
Doctor Patel is very attentive to the patient is very jovial & makes an effort to understanding me.
Dr. Patel was excellent. Her team was also very good.
my concerns were not addressed. i left feeling helpless about the pain and symptoms i was suffering as she did not seem to want to address them or have answers for me.
I really didn't want to be included in the decision process. I totally relied on my doctor's advice and would have done anything she said. She made sure I knew what to do, but the decision about my care was entirely hers, and I liked that.
dr. Patel is amazing I would recommend her to everyone. A true professional and a credit to Stanford Health Care.
Excellent skill by the care provider. Would have liked just a bit more information about aftercare and follow up appt.
care provvider was exceptionally sensitive to my needs
Dr. Patel is the best doctor I have met w/ at Stanford. Great patient relations.
Dr. Patel is kind, caring & gentle.
Dr. Patel is great.
Dr. Patel was very compassionate and with great concern for me.
I was amazed at the personal attention & concern I was given. It instilled confidence.
Dr. Patel is great!
Very impressed with Doctor and staff. Doctor took a great deal of time going through things.
Excellent care. Thank you.
This appointment was regarding anosmia following a complex history including sleep apnea, sinus infection, GI, and neurological issues. I was expecting to perhaps be able to quantify it and make sure it wasn't getting worse, but Dr. Patel not only did this but also suggested a treatment plan with essential oils and gave me ~50% odds of regaining some smell. So far things do not seem to be getting worse and maybe even slightly better.
The medical words I did not know was explained thoroughly
Dr. Patel very knowledgeable re my condition.
I can't say anything to my provider. She explains everything.
Relieved of expertise of Dr. Patel - gave me hope.

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